For the last decade, Yakuza, or Ryu Ga Gotoku in its native Japan, has been one of Sega’s biggest modern cult hits with its international fanbase rising with each new installment. Just like Shenmue, its so-called spiritual predecessor which was also released by Sega, the series features locations based on actual districts you can visit all over Japan. Kamurocho is based on Kabukicho in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, and Soutenbori, is based on Doutonbori in Osaka’s Namba district. In addition to geographically depicting them almost accurately, it has its unique share of product placement beyond Boss Coffee beverages you can purchase from the game’s vending machines. So, whether you visit Tokyo, Osaka, or some other big city or suburb, what are some nationwide restaurants and stores featured in the game that you can find all over the nation?
Other than the game’s version, this flagship store has been featured in the series since day one. Though based in Japan, it does have a small handful of international locations, notably in Hawaii. Though you can find one in the actual Kabukicho parallel to where you can find it in the game, you can find them just about almost everywhere in Japan. To put Don Quijote in a nutshell, it’s the equivalent to Wal-Mart in America. You can find every day things at lower prices and a good percentage of locations are open 24 hours! Though they don’t sell things like Stamina X or Toughness ZZ like in the games, you can buy groceries, clothes, furniture, and souvenirs for friends and family back home! If you ever go to the actual Don Quijote in Kabukicho, it sometimes features promotional posters of a Yakuza game within its release.
In addition to Don Quijote, Club Sega is featured as an arcade where players can enjoy some of their favorite arcade classics such as Out-Run, Space Harrier, Fantasy Zone, Fighting Vipers or Virtua Fighter. While it is true that there is an arcade located outside a theater neighboring a large courtyard, the actual arcade is not Club Sega, but is really known as Shinjuku Playland Carnival. However, there are actual Club Sega’s in other sections of Tokyo such as in Ikebukuro and Akihabara. As for the actual Playland, it’s open until midnight while other real life Club Sega arcades can be closed between 10pm and midnight depending on the location.
Shinjuku Batting Center
Another staple throughout the franchise within Kamurocho is the Yoshida Batting Center. And in case you wanted to know, it’s based on an actual batting cage in the district simply named Shinjuku Batting Center. Just like in the game, certain cages pitch balls at different speeds. One cage can pitch balls as fast as 130 km/h, and for some of those that are beginners, you can practice within cages that pitch as slow as 70 km/h. For those that are left-handed, as of present, we have to warn you that only two cages out of 12 are left-handed friendly.
As featured in Yakuza 0, both Kiryu and Majima can visit a disco club called Maharaja in their respective cities. Though disco died in the 70s in America, it was stayin’ alive in 1988, when Yakuza 0 takes place. It was a symbol of Japan’s bubble economy and had clubs all over the country from Sapporo to Fukuoka (and it even had one in Honolulu!). Unfortunately, due to the end of the bubble, a large number of locations closed throughout the 1990s but have been on a steady comeback the past decade. While you may not be able to find one in modern day Kabukicho, you can still find one of its flagship locations in Roppongi, which is on the other side of town and still largely enjoy Italia Disco or Japanese covers to them. Based on some research, its Osaka location near Namba station is scheduled to close July 2019.
While appearing in every other game, you can have a beef bowl at Matsuya. It is one of Japan’s biggest beef bowl restaurants just after Yoshinoya. So for those of you not in Japan that have a Yoshinoya in your country, Matsuya is just another type of restaurant that sells dishes that mixes rice and meat. ALL locations throughout Japan are 24 hours and the prices portrayed in the Yakuza series are pretty much the same as you can find in real life.
Recently introduced in the sixth game and in the Judge Eyes/Judgment spin-off, you can visit another famous national chain of sushi restaurants, Sushi Zanmai. And based on the location portrayed in those two games, it is parallel to where it is located in the real life Kabukicho. If you have passed by the restaurant in the games, it has a statue of the owner, Kiyoshi Kimura, also known as the Tuna King. All locations throughout Japan should have the same statue. The prices portrayed in the game are the same in real life and numerous locations are 24 hours.
Honestly, there’s more to share to the point that we can make a part two to this. So if you ever find yourself visiting Japan no matter where you are, the Yakuza series can expose players to some actual stores and restaurants to make your stay more interesting. Many of the restaurants and shops we shared are thankfully nationwide and are open 24 hours, so no matter where you go from Hokkaido to Kyushu, you’re likely to find something that relates to the games. Other than that, we promise that Japan is safe and you won’t find yourself getting into a fight every five minutes like Kiryu.